Medline Call Center | Dubuque, IA

No longer marked by uniform rows of cubicles, call centers have become more personalized and employee-centric than ever, giving people a more comfortable place to spend working hours. Medline opened a 66,000-square-foot facility in 2009 where it quickly grew to more than 450 employees. Planning for an additional 100 employees, Medline decided to build a new facility double the size of the current facility in Dubuque, Iowa, which allowed Medline to provide more amenities for its employees. Medline Industries worked with Alston Construction and broke ground on the 120,000 square foot call center in March 2019. The Dubuque call center is an open office design with perimeter meeting and office spaces, IT servers, and IDF rooms. A full-service café including a Starbucks, gymnasium, and fitness center are also available for all employees. In order to achieve the expectations of more employee-centric amenities while meeting a call center’s necessary design efficiencies, the Alston team provided creative solutions and collaborated with the entire project stakeholder team to build the call center on time and within budget.

The first project goal was to get the multiple stakeholders all on
the same page to ensure construction ran smoothly. Stakeholders included the design and engineering team, Medline’s IT team, and Alston Construction with their subcontractors. To ensure a successful outcome, we started meeting months before construction began – and continued in-depth communication throughout the project. This pre-planning and continual communication proved invaluable, keeping all parties satisfied and, more importantly, the project on schedule.

Alston delivered the contract for this project, which started with a sketch to construction documents without a cost increase from the initial concept. As design progressed we tracked details and cost, making sure they stayed in line with the project’s program. When Medline and the design team decided they wanted more high-end finishes, specifically, the light fixtures, paint colors, textures—an upgrade from the initial specifications—Alston worked with the subcontractor team and engineers, so the upgrades were secured with no significant cost changes, and no changes in quality.

In addition to high-end finishes, Medline ensured power poles and wire drops were not exposed. With a customer service/data center, this presented a challenge. For most cable lines, our team collaborated with the electrical subcontractor to use a GPS layout system for conduit and box installation for all lines to be under-slab, and the Medline IT team were easily able to pull all cable to their designated cubicles. With this system, we were able to penetrate the slab within less than half of an inch of where they needed to be, and we did not have any remapping errors. Some feeds did need to come overhead. Due to the acoustic requirements, the design of the facility’s ceiling had three different layers of necessary acoustic “clouds” overlapping each other, so the team needed to creatively solve how to rough-in the overhead feeds. The Alston team did so, without error.

During the call center’s construction, it was also one of the rainiest years in Dubuque’s history. Alston did not only have to schedule around rain, but Alston had to manage finishing this project at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With hundreds of subcontractors, Medline IT, inspectors, the Alston team, punching, and furniture and equipment movers in a 120,000-square-foot footprint, social distancing could have been an issue; however, with schedule reevaluation and deliberate coordination and communication, all stakeholders were able to successfully complete their milestones.

Despite design changes and variables outside of the company’s control, Alston safely delivered the project on-time and on-budget. The Medline Call Center is expected to bring a minimum of 100 jobs to the Dubuque area. In fact, our team often heard from the local subcontractor community of their family and friends working in the new customer service center.